Kane Holloway might not have become a comedian had it not been for Pop-Tarts.
After hearing comedian Brian Regan’s joke questioning the need for the directions on Pop-Tarts boxes, the then 12-year-old Holloway told the bit to his mother, taking credit for it after she asked if he had thought of the joke himself.
“Ever since then, I’ve been trying to be a comedian,” Holloway said.
Holloway will perform at the Spokane Comedy Club, his own jokes, mind you, on Sunday.
Though the initial spark came early, Holloway called stand-up a secret passion no one knew about – didn’t start performing in comedy clubs until he was 21.
Even then, he only started performing after a co-worker who knew about his interest in stand-up challenged him to perform at the Sunday open mic at Giggles Comedy Club, a now-defunct club in Holloway’s hometown of Seattle.
On the way there, Holloway said he prayed the club was closed so he wouldn’t have to perform. Once the owner opened the door, Holloway “cursed into the sky” and performed a set involving bits about how hard ketchup packets are to open and the Sleep Country USA theme song.
“I bombed pretty hard for five minutes but couldn’t stop wanting to do it even after that,” Holloway said.
Holloway and a friend decided to perform at Giggles during the club’s Sunday and Thursday open mic nights. Soon after, they were looking for open mic opportunities in Seattle, Renton and Tacoma.
“Before you know it, I was doing seven nights a week for about a year,” Holloway said. “I was at every open mic every day and I was exhausted at work.”
After seven years in stand-up, Holloway and his girlfriend, Spokane comedian Kelsey Cook, moved to Los Angeles, feeling that they had reached a plateau in the Northwest and looking to pursue comedy full time.
Holloway now performs across the country, but always finds time to return to Washington. He recorded his first album, “See What I Did There?” at the Tacoma Comedy Club in 2014.
He also hosts a podcast called “Your First Time,” in which Holloway asks guests about memorable firsts. He might ask a comedian about the first time they felt funny or a musician about the first performer who inspired them to pick up an instrument.
If he doesn’t have a guest, Holloway will host a solo show. Sometimes stories he tells during these shows, like a run in with a car salesman, will evolve into jokes for his stage shows.
The set Holloway has planned for this headlining show will consist of material he has prepared for his second album, tentatively titled “If You Know What I Mean.”
When returning to Spokane, or a place he’s performed before, Holloway switches up his set to keep things fresh for those who saw him the last time he was in town.
“I get to play more,” he said. “I get to interact with the crowd more and enjoy their time and bring them into it. That’s some of my favorite things is to have the crowd be a part of the show as well as entertain them.”
The pressure to perform well in Los Angeles – in case a TV booker happen to be at your show – is a far cry from the flexibility of the Northwest, but Holloway embraces both scenes.
Yet another comedy scene is in Holloway’s future though, as he and Cook are planning to move to New York in the next year or so.
Holloway considers himself an East Coast type of guy, plus he said the stand-up environment is more conducive than that of Los Angeles, a city he has struggled to love.
“I’m especially less inclined to want to have my own sitcom or anything like that,” Holloway said. “I wouldn’t turn it down, obviously, but at this time I would like to focus more on stage time, stand-up, working the East Coast.”
Holloway admits thinking about the move is nerve-wracking, but they’re nerves he is able to manage knowing all the good that came from his move to Los Angeles.
“It’s terrifying, but we did it the first time and it was scary doing stand-up and traveling and doing tours,” he said. “I figured ‘Let’s do it again.’ ”
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